Creating the base of most religions are the beliefs and practices associated with a particular way of worshipping. Some of the most important concepts of a religion deal with what they follow in terms of the beliefs of everyday life, as well as what happens once your life is nearing the end, including the afterlife.
The ancient form of this Germanic religion did not exactly touch upon the subject of the afterlife. It is thought that the closest thing to an afterlife was the belief that respected warriors would be sent to Valhalla to spend time with Odin, but it is not known whether or not this was a popular belief. It was the majority thought that there was no afterlife to speak of. In regards to death, the burning of a body on a funeral pyre was rather undesirable. Corpses were seen as an object that served no purpose.
There wasn’t a thought of heaven or anything good happening after death for these religious followers. Many worshippers believed in a momentary time period after death where the body and the spirit were not separated. If an individual led a life filled with negativity and evil, then they were thought to do ill will even in death. These individuals were believed to have to be killed more than once. In some records, it is stated that the dead may need a companion when buried. Some of the people accompanying those into death included mistress, wife, as well as a servant. Death was viewed as a slow process, which ended in a dark area referred to as Niflheim or Niflheimr.
In the modern version of this religion, Asatrus believe in an afterlife. They feel that good individuals on earth will be rewarded with pleasure and fulfillment, where naughty individuals will not meet their family in the afterlife, as well as lead an existence full of gloom. Myths are used to describe the afterlife, which uses symbolism to paint a picture of what it may appear and feel like. The main thought is that they will join their family in the afterlife and if you lead a good life while living, you will be rewarded in the next.
As one leads their life throughout the everyday trials and tribulations, there are certain rules that individuals are expected to follow. For some, they are called the 10 Commandments, but for the Asatru religion, they are referred to as the Nine Noble Virtues. Simply put, they include: Courage, Truth, Honor, Industriousness, Self-Reliance, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, as well as Perseverance.
In writings, Courage is often written before all of the other virtues. It is one of the things that Vikings are best known for. Honor is regarded quite high within the religion, viewed as one of the basis of the moral code of the Asatru. It is often seen as an internal force and not just how others view one in terms of reputation. Treating others with respect is seen as a positive movement for the community. This is why Hospitality is viewed as an important virtue. Strength within the group is shown through how others are treated. It is an important reflection on the community as a whole. In order to achieve the goals they have set for themselves, Industriousness is needed to accomplish these desires.